Sunday, 19 October 2014

Book Review: HOLD THE DARK BY WILLIAM GIRALDI


My Thoughts on this deep, dark, unsettling but compelling novel .......


HOLD THE DARK
BY
WILLIAM GIRALDI


Publishing Date:  February 2015
Publisher:  No Exit Press
Approx Pages:  201


At the start of another pitiless winter, the wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been taken from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old boy of Medora and Vernon Slone.

Stunned by grief and seeking consolation, Medora contacts nature writer and wolf expert Russell Core. Sixty years old, ailing in both body and spirit, and estranged from his daughter and wife, Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings. Immersing himself in this settlement at the end of the world, he discovers the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora Slone and learns of an unholy truth harboured by this village.

When Vernon Slone returns from a desert war to discover his son dead and his wife missing, he begins a methodical pursuit across this frozen landscape. Aided by his boyhood companion, the taciturn and deadly Cheeon, and pursued by the stalwart detective Donald Marium, Slone is without mercy, cutting a bloody swathe through the wilderness of his homeland. As Russell Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband’s vengeance, he comes face to face with an unspeakable secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil—a secret about the unkillable bonds of family, and the untamed animal in the soul of every human being.



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Hold the Dark is one of the most unsettling, shocking and deeply disturbing books I've ever read.  But it is also one of the most compelling.

The inhabitants of the Alaskan town of Keelut are not very friendly to outsiders, they look after their own, and they don't appreciate strangers coming and trying to meddle in their affairs.  It is a sad and depressing town, but somehow this makes it more readable, more interesting .... what secrets are they hiding?

When the writer, Russell Core, makes a shocking discovery, the woman who had written to him and asked him to help find her son who was taken by wolves then disappears into the pitiless wilds of Alaska.  But why?  And why won't any of the villagers talk to him or help him?

Some of the incidents in the story are truly shocking, yet didn't stop me reading, I was totally engrossed in this darkest of dark tales, I wanted to know some answers and couldn't put it down.  The writing was intelligent, never boring, always moving on, no words were wasted, I felt a sense of foreboding throughout.  

A gripping and mysterious thriller that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a darker side to their novels.

My thanks to Real Readers and No Exit Press for a review copy of this book

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About the Author

William Giraldi is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Busy Monsters 
(W.W. Norton). He teaches at Boston University, is the Senior Fiction Editor for the 
journal AGNI, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review. He 
has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in the category of Essays and 

Criticism, and has received a Pushcart Prize. 





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